The first meeting for the establishment of the subregional coordination mechanism for Eastern and Southern Africa was held in Kigali in 2010. It was organized jointly by the Eastern and Southern Africa subregional offices, with the participation of the four regional economic communities and a number of intergovernmental organizations, including the Central Corridor Transit Transport Facility Authority; the Northern Corridor–Transit Transport Coordination Agency; the Economic Community of Great Lakes Countries; the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region; the East African Subregional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women; and the Nile Basin Initiative
The subregional mechanism was launched in November 2011 and a business plan for the period 2013-2017 was adopted at the following meeting in 2012. Five priority areas were identified: regional integration and infrastructure development; climate change and natural resources management; governance; gender and social development; and agriculture and food security. Knowledge management and information-sharing were identified as cross-cutting issues. The business plan covered the five priority areas mentioned above and those of industrial development; tourism development; information and communications technology for development; and science and technology.
The business plan represented a comprehensive tool through which United Nations agencies and other development partners could support the regional economic communities in implementing some programmes and activities. In addition, it was agreed that annual work plans would be derived from the business plan and that the three main outcome areas of the subregional mechanism should be under the responsibility of the following organizations:
- Fostering broad-based economic development – East African Community
- Natural resource management and food security – Intergovernmental Authority on Development
- Institution-building for social cohesion – Southern African Development Community